Toshiba picks HD-DVD for laptop

Movie fans will be able to watch high-definition video on their laptops using the Qosmio G35-AV650 computer from Toshiba.

Movie fans can watch high-definition video on their laptops using the Qosmio G35-AV650 computer launched Tuesday by Toshiba America Information Systems.

The computer acts as a full-featured notebook PC and as a digital entertainment center, with capabilities for movies, music, gaming and TV, said Jeff Barney, vice president of marketing for Toshiba's Digital Products Division, of Irvine, California. The G35-AV650 is the first notebook PC shipping in the U.S. to incorporate an HD-DVD drive, the company says.

To support high-resolution images, the computer uses an Intel Core Duo processor and Centrino mobile platform, running Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition. To handle data storage demands, it includes two 100G byte hard drives and 1024M bytes of DDR2 (double data rate) memory.

Armed with that powerful system, users can watch live cable or satellite TV with an integrated television tuner, then record those programs using a DVR (digital video recorder). The 10.1-pound (4.6 kilograms) computer has a 17-inch widescreen display and sells for $US2,999.99.

At that price, Toshiba hopes to sell this high-end notebook to early adopters, said Samir Bhavnani, director of research at Current Analysis.

Toshiba might not sell many of the machines, especially because the market has not settled on a winner between the competing technologies of HD-DVD and Blu ray. But the G35-AV650 could act as a halo product, establishing Toshiba as a high-end brand and attracting many customers to its mainstream laptops.

"This is significant; they are asserting themselves as a technology leader. This will help Toshiba sell a lot of satellite products -- their $US999 computers are where the real volume is," Bhavnani said.

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